Energy Efficient Lighting
Energy efficiency is at the forefront of every homeowner's mind these days. As the cost of energy continues to go up, people are looking for more options to help keep costs low around the house. Lighting is often one of the first places people turn to when they want to make a home more energy efficient. Since light fixtures can be upgraded for a much lower cost than an HVAC unit, energy-efficient lighting can be a great way to upgrade without spending a fortune. You may find that upgrading to more energy-efficient lighting will save you a noticeable amount of money.
What is Energy-Efficient Lighting?
To put it very simply, energy-efficient lighting provides you with usable light while incurring a lower overall energy usage. While many efficient light options utilize electrical components, the truth is that some efficient lighting upgrades don't use any electricity at all.
For example, skylights and sunrooms are considered to be energy-efficient lighting upgrades. They help to direct natural light throughout your home more efficiently. This allows you to keep light fixtures turned off during the day.
There are some technological upgrades that also fall under the "energy efficient" headline. Efficient compact fluorescent bulbs that utilize smaller amounts of electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs are a good example of this. There are also efficient fixtures you can upgrade to that use less electricity in standby mode.
When you want to upgrade the efficiency of your home lighting, it's important to approach it from more than one angle. A mixture of passive and active approaches toward enhancing your light efficiency is necessary to get the best results.
Passive Lighting Upgrades
Passive lighting upgrades are upgrades that are installed and then work essentially on "autopilot." They use passive natural light and direct it in a way that makes it useful for you in your home.
A skylight is a window built into your roof. Its purpose is to allow sunlight to filter into your home more efficiently. Since it is positioned on your roof, a skylight can be a very good way to harness the Sun's light. When placed correctly, skylights can save you from having to turn on lights during the daytime.
Sunrooms are purpose-built rooms that use light in a very creative way. Of course, you'll never need to use any light fixtures in these rooms during the day. However, a good sunroom will also be built to compliment the layout of your home. This means that the light filtering into your sunroom may also be used to light most of your home. This is only possible when windows between the sunroom and the rest of your home are properly utilized.
Active Lighting Upgrades
Active light upgrades are energy-efficient lighting upgrades that require energy inputs. These are fixtures that you would be using anyway, but designed to operate more efficiently.
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
Compact fluorescent bulbs produce light in a way that is completely different from standard incandescent bulbs. A standard incandescent bulb produces light by running an electrical current through a filament within the bulb. A compact fluorescent bulb produces light by running electrical current through a gas inside the bulb. The method used by fluorescent bulbs uses substantially less energy. This makes these bulbs an excellent option for making your lighting more efficient on a budget.
How to Upgrade
When you want to make your lighting more efficient, there are a few different paths you can take. These paths rely entirely on the type of upgrade you're looking to do and how much money you can spend. Some upgrades are definitely more labor-intensive and expensive than others. You just need to get an idea of how far you want to take things.
The cheapest way to make your lighting more efficient is to switch your bulbs over to high-efficiency fluorescent bulbs. Changing one or two bulbs is a good start, but won't amount to much in terms of real savings. It's best to change all the bulbs in your home to high-quality bulbs at the same time.
You'll need to work with a qualified contractor for more construction-intensive upgrades. These upgrades often require building into your preexisting walls and ceiling areas. This can be very dangerous if you're not a qualified contractor. Keep this in mind when you're deciding on which route you're going to take with your upgrade.
Upgrading your home lighting to a more efficient setup is a very smart investment. Even little changes can end up saving you a reasonably large sum of money in the long run. When you take the time to invest in more extensive additions like skylights or upgraded windows, you are also raising the value of your home.